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11 July 2010
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Friday 16 July Excursion Compass Tours to EDINBURGH (via WCML) Picks up: Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow, Craven Arms, Shrewsbury, Gobowen, Wrexham General, Chester, Frodsham & Warrington Bank Quay Expected to be hauled by class 67s.
24-25 July. Llangollen Railway Ivor the Engine weekend with a return visit from the Welsh engine for a fun weekend. Includes Ivor the Engine in Concert on Saturday evening.
26-30 July: Cambrian Steam: 44871 Machynlleth - Porthmadog or Pwllheli and return.
Wednesday 28 July Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.
31 July-1 August. Llangollen Railway 1960s weekend. Intensive service with a mix of steam, diesel and railcars with opportunity to appear in period dress.
2-30 August, Mondays - Fridays only: Cambrian Steam: 44871 Machynlleth - Porthmadog or Pwllheli and return.
7-15 August. Llangollen Railway Day out with Thomas (again) the summer time visit by No.1 and friends.
Sunday 8 August Excursion Compass Tours to SKIPTON & KEIGHLEY (out via Bentham, return S&C + Shap) Picks up: Holyhead, Llanfairpwll, Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay, Rhyl, Flint, Chester, Frodsham & Warrington Bank Quay. Expected to to be hauled by a class 67.
Sunday 8 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. The North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool - Holyhead
Wednesday 11 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Wednesday 18 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Sunday 22 August Steam on the Coast. Railway Touring Company. The North Wales Coast Express. Liverpool - Holyhead
Wednesday 25 August Conwy Valley Steam: Railway Touring Company. The Welsh Mountaineer Preston - Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Monday 30 August Excursion Compass Tours to DURHAM + optional add-on tour via Hartlepool to Newcastle (routes covered include Cumbrian Coast, Tyne Valley, ECML, Aire Valley & Hellifield to Carnforth) Picks up: Crewe, Hooton (after runnning round), Ellesmere Port, Frodsham, Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western, Preston, Lancaster & Carnforth This train is booked to feature D1015 Western Champion throughout.
See the Calendar page for more details.
57 306 Jeff Tracy seen from the new foot/cycle bridge near the Llandudno Junction flyover, while returning from Holyhead on the afternoon's London Euston service on 3 July (Gary Thomas)
Royal Scotsman stays the night
As part of its eight-day 'Grand tour of Britain' the 'Royal Scotsman' luxury train paid a visit to the Conwy Valley branch over the night of Sunday 11 / Monday 12 July. The train was top-and-tailed by 47 804 and 47 786 Roy Castle OBE. Above, the train is seen at Dunham-on-the Hill heading for Wales (Andrew Vinten)
Above, the westbound train passes Old Colwyn (Darren Durrant)
Above: Entering Llandudno Junction on 11 July, the third day of the tour, with 47 804 leading (Larry Davies)
The train having reversed at Llandudno Junction to access the branch, 47 786 leads through Tal-y-Cafn (Larry Davies)
In the loop at North Llanrwst - 47 804 on the rear (Larry Davies). The the passengers visited nearby Gwydir Castle, and spent the night in the train, which in North Llanrwst station.
The next morning, 12 July, the train ran empty as 5Z26 to Llandudno, seen arriving at Llandudno Junction, with the driver about to hand over the single-line token for the branch. Day four for the passengers included a visit by luxury coach to Portmeirion, a ride on the Ffestiniog Railway, and an exploration of Conwy Castle, before rejoining the train for a 19:50 departure as 1Z28 to Hereford. The fare for the seven nights, including the sleeping accommodation on the train, and all meals and coach excursion, was £7800 (for that special occasion!) per person. Departure from Edinburgh was at 13:42 on day one and arrival back in Edinburgh at 09:46 on day eight. The Seat61 website has an interesting article about what it's like inside the train.
Above, 47 786 waits for departure at Llandudno on the evening of 12 July as a 175 arrives (Darren Durrant)
Darren was invited by the train staff to have a look inside the dining car.
The depating train passes Llandudno Junction. The first two vehicles appear to be Mk1 Pullman Cars originally built for the East Coast Main Line. (Darren Durrant)
The Snowdonia Statesman
The 'Snowdonia Statesman' on 10 July was an excursion from Swindon to Blaenau Ffestiniog organised by Statesman Rail, and worked by 47 270 Swift, and 57 601. At Crewe, 47 270 is seen at the head of the train, while 57 316 waits for the arrival from London of the Pendolino which it will haul to Holyhead. (Richard Fleckney)
Taking the curve on to the Chester line (Richard Fleckney)
Above, heading west at Calveley. Picture by Stavros Lainas.
Passing Rhyl (John Myers). It is to be hoped that sometimes this loco, in its livery which exudes nostalgia for many railfans, will get to work with a set of coaches in matching blue and grey colours.
Llanddulas (Darren Durrant)
47 270 stands at Llandudno Junction after arrival (Richard Billingsley). As the pictures show, this loco has been re-fitted on overhaul with a headcode display of the type that was standard in the 1960s when these locos were built, to allow signalmen and others to recognise passing trains. However, perhaps due to some confusion or a last minute swap of locos, the code displayed, 1Z60, was that of the another special on the same day, which was actually hauled by 47 826 (see below.) The North Wales train was 1Z28, but it didn't matter, since these days any such display is purely decorative.
Blaenau Ffestiniog looks busy, as 150 240 leaves for Llandudno, passing 47 270 stabled in the loop with the stock from the Swindon charter. On the right, a Ffestiniog Railway train has arrived. (Richard Billingsley)
57 601 brings the charter stock back into the platform at Blaenau Ffestiniog (Richard Billingsley)
47 270 approaches Glan Conwy with the 16:15 Blaenau Ffestiniog - Swindon return charter. (Larry Davies)
At the other end of the train, 57 601, seen hauling the train away from Llandudno Junction on the return journey (Larry Davies). Next to the loco is coach 17056, which unfortunately was the subject of a graffiti attack by criminals whilst stabled the previous evening at Swindon Cockleberry Sidings prior to working to North Wales.
A last look at the train near Rowton (Andrew Vinten)
10 July miscellany
Another special on 10 July, again with West Coast Railways traction, was a Spitfire Tours railtour (1Z60) from Manchester to Newport, the 'Heart of Wales.' Stavros Lainas photographed it passing Whitchurch, with 47 826 leading.
Shortly after the charter left for the branch, 1D83 appeared with plain blue 57 316 hauling Pendolino 390 047.
The return train to London, seen at Hargrave with 57 315 (Andrew Vinten). Another example of this train being used to change over the loco for the Monday-Friday 'All-Wales Express.'
On 5 July, 37 229 Jonty Jarvis and 37 603 ran into difficulties when working the Valley flask train, the westbound working arriving at Valley over 100 minutes late, so 66 428 ran light-engine to bring the 37s and the flasks back to Crewe. The picture above by Garnedd Jones shows them soon after starting the return journey.
Above, the cavalcade passes Llandudno Junction (Peter Lloyd).
Mark Youdan's photo shows them passing the former station at Waverton.
Thursday 8 July's flasks produced the combination of 37 194 and 37 682, seen in the compound at Valley (Richard Billingsley).
Departing from Valley (Stéphanie Durrant)
Passing Flint (Stavros Lainas) No problems this time; in fact complete failures requiring rescue of the train are rare indeed.
While on the subject of Valley station, as reported before it has been fitted with a fibreglass 'hump' to raise part of the up platform to a sensible level. Very good, but maybe they should also supply a cushion for users of the public phone? (Dave Bramley)
DRS Open Day at Crewe
The DRS Open Day on Saturday 10 July was a great attraction at Gresty Bridge Depot, Crewe. For those who had applied early enough to obtain a ticket, this was a great opportunity to see this company on the inside. Above, 37 688 inside the shed (Richard Fleckney)
66 411 still wears the Stobart Eddie the Engine colours and name, even though DRS no longer operate Stobart's trains (Richard Fleckney)
The latest addition to the DRS loco fleet, 37 409, was named Lord Hinton, the ceremony being performed by the great man's grandson. (Richard Fleckney)
409 poses for the cameras (Andrew Vinten), Lord Hinton, or Baron Hinton of Bankside to give him his formal title, was born Christopher Hinton in 1901, and died in 1983 after an illustrious career in engineering and engineering management. Born in Tisbury, Wiltshire, from the age of 16 he served his apprenticeship with the Great Western Railway at Swindon works - a period which he described as 'six unnecessarily long and wearisome years' - and then studied mechanical engineering at Cambridge University, only to be refused a job by the GWR. He joined the Brunner Mond chemical company, which became part of ICI (and is now Brunner Mond again), and rose to be the chief engineer of ICI at the age of just 29. After the war he became head of the Atomic Energy Authority’s industrial production base at Risley, where he oversaw the development of the power stations which DRS now serves with its flask trains. In 1957 he was appointed Chairman of the new Central Electricity Generating Board, which he served until his retirement. The same year he was made a Life Peer, choosing the name of Bankside Power Station (an oil-fired station built 1952-63, and closed 1981 - now Tate Britain) in London for his title. His name is also perpetuated by a ship, MV Lord Hinton, a coal-carrier ordered by the Central Electricity Generating Board in 1984 shortly after his death.
A look at some more of the locos on show. This is ex-Freightliner 57 004 (Stavros Lainas).
37 606, once part of the Eurostar fleet (Stavros Lainas)
37 510 (Stavros Lainas)
57 311 (Stavros Lainas) Nearly all these 57/0s now work for DRS.
20 308 (Stavros Lainas) Thanks to everyone at DRS for staging this fine event.
WSMR on the WCML again - report by Richard Billingsley
Saturday 3 July saw me off for a run down the West Coast Main Line in a Wrexham and Shropshire train, diverted due to engineering work. Here's 67 013 Dyfrbont Pontcysyllte waiting for departure time at Shrewsbury (above)...
... and after arrival at London Marylebone, with the 11:23 from Wrexham. Note the train has reversed en route.
And finally, it's gone midnight at Gobowen as 82305 leading the 19:24 from Marylebone waits the road at Gobowen. at this point, the train was an hour late, and the last Arriva service to Chester wasn't very far in front, we of course had to wait for it to reach Croes Newydd before the 'bobby' at Gobowen would let us proceed.
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